Since I have been involved in this lifestyle, I often hear one of two phrases. “He is a good Master” or “He is a bad Master”. I have even heard both phrases in reference to the same person at one time! But truth of the matter is – every time we say these things, we’re speaking out of our asses because all we’re doing is stating our opinions – sometimes in public – based on how we feel about someone’s actions or legend.
But what it comes down to is this. There are no concrete criteria for determining if a man is a good or a bad Master. I feel that it’s important that we as a community, begin to establish some criteria for determining when and if a man becomes, or already is, a Master.
Honesty: “Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.” -Sigmund Freud
There are two types of honesty. The first is being honest with oneself and the second is being honest with others. In order for a man to develop his Mastery, he must be honest about his own limits, shortcomings, failures and deficiencies because people will fill these openings in his life, mind, body, heart, and soul. The role which a slave plays is as a support for her Master. Together they become a perfect unit. She becomes a right arm which is indispensable to her Master and he wouldn’t dream of being without her.
Being honest with others is not about driving home a person’s shortcomings. Rather, it’s about helping a person to understand how they fit into your life while refining and defining that position. If a Master explains how important the slave is to him, she will develop a sense of pride in her Master and in herself, which will become a motivator in the darkest of times.
When a Master is more than honest with his slaves… When he is transparent about his feelings… To me this vulnerability is a hallmark of courage.
Ethics: “Primum non nocere” (First, do no harm)
The problem with ethics is that one man’s idea of ethics is often not the same as another’s idea. So being ethical is more a matter of a person adhering to his own personal convictions, as well as sharing, teaching, and guiding his slave(s) according to that conviction.
When it comes down to it, a slave is a reflection of her Master’s guidance, wisdom, and instruction, so if the Master creates an environment that is honest and ethical, then regardless of his ethical stance, he is pursuing Mastery.
: You always have two choices: your commitment versus your fear.
Sammy Davis, Jr.
A Master must be able to dedicate himself to those who dedicate themselves to him. But it goes deeper than that. A Master must commit to not only his path but to the way in which we walk this path. Too many times a would-be Master outlines a path for his property, but not for himself. Not only does this take away an opportunity for a Master to lead by example, it also ensures that his slave’s path is not in line with his own. This distance, in my opinion, ensures that their paths will diverge.
But if both Master and slave walk the same path and strive toward the same goal, they will not be separated.
Being Informed: “While parenting books won’t make someone a better parent, a person who read books on parenting tends to become a better parent.” – Stephen J. Dubner
Reading books and blogs on BDSM will not make a man a Master, but this is a visible indication of a man’s desire to be a good Master. A man being humble enough to pick up a book or attend a class – this is a strong indicator of that humility and dedication to his lifestyle.
But not only is it important to read books and take classes. It’s also important to focus on taking a well-rounded complement of classes. For example, I rarely teach a flogging class that isn’t full to capacity, but when I teach a relationship class, very few are willing to attend. This is always surprising to me because the most important toy a Master will ever own is his slave. If she is not well-maintained, then he will be left with nothing. And we see this frequently, in Masters who own well-stocked toy bags but have nobody with whom to use them.
So I can’t help but think….if they were to take a class or read a book on M/s or D/s dynamics, maybe they would have someone. Or at the least the relationships wouldn’t end so badly. To me, there is no greater testament to a man’s Mastery than a long-lasting relationship.
Ability to inspire: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
This is the most important question that a dominant will ever ask himself. “Do I have the ability to inspire someone to do not only what is best for me but what’s best for him or herself?”
Slaves, subs, and bottoms come into this lifestyle because they have a desire to sexually, emotionally, and/or masochistically subordinate to a dominant leader. They want to be lead and it is the Master’s duty to do so. But one of the inherent issues with this dynamic is that often slaves will be so hyper-focused on their Masters that they don’t take care of themselves.
It is a Master’s duty to inspire his slave to take care of herself as well. She has to nourish herself spiritually, emotionally, sexually, and nutritionally. A dominant has to find and prime the motivators that will drive a slave to be her best not only for him but for herself.
Sense of humor: ” a sense of humor. It’s like medicine – very healing.” – Max Irons
Having a positive attitude is important in a lifestyle such as ours and nothing shows that more than a good sense of humor.
One thing that we cannot allow is for movies like “50 Shades of Grey” and “The Secretary”, to portray our Masters as only strict, demanding, or potentially violent. It’s important to see the human side of a Master, which is never more evident than in his sense of humor. As I’ve said before, no man is an island. If the circumstances which govern his relationships are always serious and intense, then when problems arise, things will always appear to be bleak. A true Master knows not only how to laugh and smile himself, but he also knows how to make those who follow him, to laugh and smile as well. Laughter is a Master’s best weapon because it always reminds a slave that no matter what happens, they are happy with one another.
At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what the community thinks. A Master’s relationship will live or die according to his love and leadership, partnered with his slave’s obedience and dedication.
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